Arcade Fire | The Roundhouse | 11 November 2013
The rumours start in the queue outside. David Bowie will be joining the band on backing vocals. LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy is DJ for the night. And Jesse from ‘Breaking Bad’ will probably be in the crowd – he’s been begging his Twitter followers for tickets.
Of course, none of this turns out to be true. But nobody cares. They’re just here to see Arcade Fire play songs from their brand new (Murphy-produced, Bowie-featuring) album, in the relative intimacy of The Roundhouse.
Even without the celebs, this is a special night. And the band know it. So there’s a dress code (“fancy dress wear or formal attire”), official face painters, and the first 100 in the queue get into the venue early – to learn a dance routine from the tour choreographer and (briefly) mingle with the group who’re wearing the giant papier-mâché heads from the ‘Reflektor’ video.
That interaction – and sense of fun – only escalates once the celebration hits the stage. They don’t repeat their New York prank of playing from the back of the venue, but the musicians are clearly here to have a good time. Playing as The Reflektors, they lead the party with high energy renditions of new songs like ‘Flashbulb Eyes’, ‘Normal Person’, and ‘Here Comes The Night Time’ and “Arcade Fire cover versions” including ‘Neighbourhood #3’. And while the small village of players behind him glide from one instrument to another, Win Butler dons an assortment of masks (his own and the crowd’s), dances a little like your dad, and pours his heart out to the fans upfront.
Bowie, Murphy, and Jesse are really missing out.